VTP: Three Problems That Need Immediate Attention

The Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project has released a post-2012 election update, identifying three problems that need immediate attention. Here’s a summary from the update:

First, the U.S. EAC and state and local election officials must study the reasons for long lines in November 2012. Expanding early voting may help. Also providing those locations with better-trained staff, sufficient voting materials, and ample voting machines are likely critical to minimizing voter waits in the future.

Second, state and local election officials need to examine their use of provisional ballots. Election officials should study ways to improve the accuracy of registration databases immediately prior to elections, audit their voter registration systems after the election, and work to streamline the provisional balloting process.

Third, federal, state and local election officials must study the disruptions caused by Hurricane Sandy, examine how election officials in the affected states reacted to those disruptions, and develop contingency plans for dealing with similar emergencies in the future. This is not the first widespread disaster to affect elections—Hurricanes Katrina and Rita affected elections in the southeastern U.S., and the 9/11 tragedy disrupted elections in New York City. Election officials should examine their contingency plans, develop strategies for dealing with disasters, and make sure that their laws and regulations allow for emergency balloting procedures.